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The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Ness
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Part two of the literary sci-fi thriller follows a boy and a girl who are caught in a warring town where thoughts can be heard — and secrets are never safe. Reaching the end of their flight in THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, while Todd faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive? Includes “The Wide, Wide Sea,” a short story by Patrick Ness.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Todd Hewitt, 13, is locked in a tower in New Prentisstown, a space colony, and separated from Viola, after the dramatic cliff-hanger in The Knife of Never Letting Go (Candlewick, 2008). Tracked down by the manipulative mayor of the all-male community he escaped, he is unaware that Viola is also under guard and recouping nearby. The noise that clatters through men's minds makes it difficult for Todd to keep any secrets about his intentions to find Viola and accompany her on a mission to contact her people, who are on their way to colonize this unsettled and fractured new world. The previous war, which killed most of the women and made slaves of the aboriginal alien Spackles, has pitted the survivors against one another. The "Answer," comprised of women and a few men who lost daughters and mothers in the war, come to blows with the "Ask," the mayor's group of fundamentalist men and their Spackle slaves. The story breaks into alternating narratives, in different fonts, as Todd is forcefully commissioned into the "Ask" and Viola into the "Answer." Their quest to reunite will keep readers focused on their relationship and moral motivation in this graphically violent and dystopian world. Lacking in this episode are lighter moments shared by Todd and his dog, who has been replaced by a less personable horse. Science fiction lovers will be looking for the next installment in this fast-paced and imaginative series.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"* "Ness is a young writer of exciting quality and unpredictability." The Times"

Product Details

  • File Size: 1321 KB
  • Print Length: 530 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 076364837X
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 Reprint edition (October 18, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0044UHVRM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,969 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first one - a no spoilers review September 20, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've just put the book down and....Wow. Just wow. There's no sophomore slump here; if anything this book is better since the first one ended in such a maddening place. Don't get me wrong, Mr. Ness ends this one in a doozy of a cliffhanger as well but at least this one ties up some loose ends and has some semblance of completion to it.

Since the product description already mentions this, I don't feel it's a spoiler to say that Viola survives the shooting. In fact, she narrates a big portion of this story so you can see things from both the men's and women's perspective. The plot is just as compelling as the first book (maybe even more so?) and deals with issues of trust, love, leadership, and of course, war. Especially war -- how it's ingrained in humanity, yet it strips it of us.

Ness' writing is top notch. Those who are grammar and spelling sticklers might wince at times but the misspellings and creative grammar are just a few of the tools Ness uses to convey train of thought. And see, that's where Ness shines. He has the uncanny ability to capture the duality of human cognition. How we talk to ourselves, evaluate and measure our decisions, how we vacillate in our opinions.

Definitely, without a doubt, this book is worth your time.(You must have read the first book to understand anything in this one though.) Take out your calendar and clear a weekend because if you're like me, you won't be able to put it down. Now I'm on pins and needles in anticipation of the third book!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too September 11, 2009
Gold Star Award Winner!

It is important to read the first book in the CHAOS WALKING trilogy, THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, before beginning THE ASK AND THE ANSWER. Patrick Ness doesn't leave anything out when he begins book two of the trilogy; THE ASK AND THE ANSWER picks up exactly where THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO leaves off.

Todd, after being captured by Mayor Prentiss' men, wakes up with thoughts of Viola. He is beside himself with worry since Viola was dying in his arms when they were captured. Is she dead or alive? No one will tell him, and it is consuming his thoughts.

Thoughts that everyone around him can hear.

While everyone around Todd can hear what he is thinking, he can't hear the thoughts around him. It seems Mayor Prentiss has found a way to stop his Noise and the Noise of his men, thus explaining how Todd and Viola were lured into Haven and captured.

Mayor Prentiss, now calling himself President Prentiss, uses Todd's concern for Viola to control him and force him into working with Prentiss' son, Davy, the one who shot Viola in the first place. Todd can't stand the people around him and feels the tasks assigned to him are barbaric and inhumane.

Fear for Viola's safety prevents him from going against Prentiss and he suffers along with the other townspeople as security gets tighter and more strict every day because of a rebel uprising by a group calling themselves The Answer.

Patrick Ness has done it again. THE ASK AND THE ANSWER contains the same heart-pounding excitement as THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO. The reader will experience Todd's internal struggle with every decision he is forced to make in order to survive under Prentiss' control.
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32 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A depressing and at times frustrating read December 13, 2009
I won't lie, I am really disappointed in and exhausted by this novel. "The Ask and the Answer" is very little like the first book in the trilogy "The Knife of Never Letting Go."

If the first one is a fast-paced chase kind of story, which keeps you hooked by gradual revelation of the New World's mysteries of Noise, Haven, Viola's origin, etc., this book is basically an account of a civil war between Mayor Prentiss's army and the resistance called here the Answer. The book raises various issues of genocide, war ethics, torture, and holding onto one's identity under pressure.

All issues are interesting, but I find myself surprisingly uninterested in them, mainly because in this book I am strangely detached from Todd and Viola. In these tough circumstances they are nothing more than naive petulant children used as pawns in various evil plans. They are described as so strongly attached that they are willing to do almost anything for one another and yet they are so easily led to mistrust each other.This mistrust constantly gets them and people around them in trouble, it's painful to read. I think pretty much in this book you simply can't find even one likable person. Todd is the one I dislike the most at this point. No matter how hard the author tries to make us believe that Todd still holds on to his innocence and thus is better than everybody else, it's pretty hard to swallow when you know what Todd has done for no good reason than his dear girlfriend left him.

In addition, there are the same plot holes as in the first book. I still don't understand the "specialness" of Todd, there is still a lot of build-up and allusions to various secrets that end up being not that interesting or important.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing ride and incredible insights
The irony of trying to guess characters' intentions while hearing (most of) their thoughts makes this a fast-paced yet thoughtful read. Read more
Published 18 days ago by S. Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Part 2
I really love this series of books. This was heart wrenching to read at times. When are we going to know what's in mom's book?
Published 24 days ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Whoo boy... what a ride!
This book was very engaging, the story always twisting and turning and full of surprises. I enjoyed it more than the first in the series and I look forward to the third.
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK IN THE SERIES.
THIS BOOK. Can I just say that this series is a favorite of mine? Can I also say that I knew that as soon as I read the first word of the first page in the first book? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Krystianna Straley
3.0 out of 5 stars ... book but in the very beginning it was really boring. I had to read...
overall it was a decent book but in the very beginning it was really boring. I had to read about 200 pages before it actually for good but once you gotnpassed that it was great!
Published 2 months ago by Marlo Hemerson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It's awesome
Published 2 months ago by Visa
4.0 out of 5 stars This whole series is good..
This whole series is good...very well written....I am surprised it is not more popular, Its much better than a lot of YA out there
Published 2 months ago by CL
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I am enjoying this series greatly. So exciting and filled with emotion, so powerful in content. Just like the first book, it sucks you in and you have to read one more page, just o... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 2 months ago by Laurence
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
This was a gift.
Published 2 months ago by patricia s. taylor
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More About the Author

As a child
I was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. My father was a drill sergeant in the US Army, but much nicer than that makes him seem. I only stayed at Fort Belvoir for the first four months of my life and have never even been back to the East Coast of America. We moved to Hawaii, where I lived until I was almost six. I went to kindergarten there, and we used to have field trips down to Waikiki Beach. I once picked up a living sea urchin and got about a hundred needle pricks in the palm of my hand. I made up stories all the time as a kid, though I was usually too embarrassed to show them to anybody.

As an adult
I've only ever really wanted to be a writer. I studied English Literature at the University of Southern California, and when I graduated, I got a job as a corporate writer at a cable company in Los Angeles, writing manuals and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival. I got my first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on my first novel, The Crash of Hennington, when I moved to London in 1999. I've lived here ever since. I taught Creative Writing at Oxford University for three years, usually to students older than I was.

As an artist
So far, I've published two books for adults, a novel called The Crash of Hennington and a short story collection called Topics About Which I Know Nothing, a title which seemed funny at the time but less so 10,000 mentions later... Here's a helpful hint if you want to be a writer: When I'm working on a first draft, all I write is 1000 words a day, which isn't that much (I started out with 300, then moved up to 500, now I can do 1000 easy). And if I write my 1000 words, I'm done for the day, even if it only took an hour (it usually takes more, of course, but not always). Novels are anywhere from 60,000 words on up, so it's possible that just sixty days later you might have a whole first draft. The Knife of Never Letting Go is 112,900 words and took about seven months to get a good first draft. Lots of rewrites followed. That's the fun part, where the book really starts to come together just exactly how you see it, the part where you feel like a real writer.

Things you didn't know about Patrick Ness
1. I have a tattoo of a rhinoceros.
2. I have run two marathons.
3. I am a certified scuba diver.
4. I wrote a radio comedy about vampires.
5. I have never been to New York City but...
6. I have been to Sydney, Auckland and Tokyo.
7. I was accepted into film school but turned it down to study writing.
8. I was a goth as a teenager (well, as much of a goth as you could be in Tacoma, Washington and still have to go to church every Sunday).
9. I am no longer a goth.
10. Under no circumstances will I eat onions.


Patrick Ness is the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy. The Knife of Never Letting Go, Book One of the trilogy, won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize. The Ask and The Answer, the second book in the trilogy won the Costa Children's Book Award 2009. The third book, Monsters of Men, is released in September 2010.

He has also written a novel (The Crash of Hennington) and a short story collection (Topics About Which I Know Nothing) for adults, has taught Creative Writing at Oxford University, and is a literary critic for the Guardian. Born in Virginia, he lives in London.

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Kindle edition?
I downloaded the first book to my kindle a few days ago, and now I find that none of them are available. Disappointing. Will get next in the series out of the library.
Aug 21, 2010 by heyokayo |  See all 4 posts
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